Size, according to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA Haji Shafi Jamote fighting for the legal rights of fish and fishermen, does matter.
It is all about the size of the catch, he said, while grilling the livestock and fisheries minister, Jam Khan Shoro, during Monday’s assembly session.
The minister was doing his best to answer the questions about how he runs his ministry – from the number of chowkidars he had hired, to the speaker shaming him into inviting the assembly members to his village for prawn biryani.
For those seated comfortably in the visitors’ gallery, it looked like the minister was appearing for a particularly tough oral exam.
However, after an intense hour of answering questions about fried fish, prawn curry, fishing nets, technique, employees and why he wasn’t inviting MPAs over to his house immediately for some freshwater fish, the minister looked relieved when the speaker announced that the question-answer session was over.
He loosened his tie and plopped down in his chair, hoping that the speaker would stop picking on him. But it seemed like fate was against him as the speaker made another crack at the minister for not inviting anyone for a seafood feast.
Food, MPAs will agree, was an essential part of Monday’s session. The speaker spent a good part of the session he chaired talking about food, feasts and one-dish parties. All this to drive home one point: that he was upset with the women of the assembly.
At the beginning of the session, a grumpy Durrani asked the female members of the opposition why they didn’t show up for a dinner he had arranged and informed them about weeks ago. The dinner was held to celebrate their achievement over a women’s bill last year. The speaker claimed that his efforts went ignored and often unappreciated. He said he had the invites posted, sent text reminders and even personally invited them to a dinner to honour them and their work but no one showed up.
Nusrat Seher Abbasi and Mehtab Rashdi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional claimed they had prior and personal commitments hence unable to make an appearance. The others didn’t have anything to say except that it won’t happen again. Durrani just shook his head to show how disappointed he was. “I was always very proud of the women of this assembly,” he said. “I talk about you to those in the National Assembly as my pride and joy. I always tell them that the women are years ahead of the men in terms of thought and progress but you can’t even show up for a dinner.”
Let’s hope the media doesn’t have to fish for an invite to the next assembly dinner.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2014.